published Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Family of fallen officer 'overwhelmed' by support

  • photo
    A Chattanooga police motorcade relocates their motorcycles so that a horse drawn carriage can rehearse their route before Thursday's funeral for the late Sgt. Tim Chapin at Abba's House Baptist Church in Hixson. Staff Photo by Dan Henry/The Chattanooga Times Free Press

SERVICES TODAY

Funeral services for Sgt. Tim Chapin will be held today at 1 p.m. at Abba’s House with burial following at Hamilton Memorial Gardens on Highway 153. A walking funeral procession honoring Chapin will proceed from the church to the cemetery. Parking for the funeral service is in the rear lot of Northgate Mall. CARTA will provide two shuttle buses for transportation to and from the church.

A motorcade of Chattanooga Police Department officers led the way with lights and sirens Wednesday as family members arrived at visitation for a fallen sergeant.

Two teens posted a sign for the late Sgt. Tim Chapin across the street from Abba’s House Central Baptist Church on Hixson Pike: “Thank you for your years of service & protection. God bless Sgt. Chapin & family.”

Kelly Stephens, office manager at Northgate Family Dentistry across the street from the church, stood nearby as the teens finished taping the sign to stakes in the ground.

“I just wanted to show my respects. He did so much for us. He didn’t do it for himself. He did it for us,” said Stephens, who knows Chapin’s wife, Kelle.

Chapin was shot to death Saturday while responding to a robbery at the U.S. Money Shops pawnshop on Brainerd Road. His funeral is set for today.

Jesse Mathews, 25, remains hospitalized at Erlanger hospital, accused of fatally shooting Chapin and wounding Officer Lorin Johnston.

On Wednesday afternoon, many people wearing police uniforms and dress clothes filed into Abba’s House to pay respects to Chapin.

Denise Craig, chief financial officer for Abba’s House, told reporters the mood was somber inside the sanctuary, which seats about 3,200 people. She said the line to pay respects ran around the auditorium, then flowed out into the circular hallway.

Craig said the Chapin family has been “overwhelmed” with support from church members and law enforcement.

Stephens said she planned to attend the visitation later Wednesday. She said the tragedy hit home because one of her children is close in age to the Chapin children, who are 15 and 12.

“I can’t imagine what they are going through,” she said.

Chattanooga police said Mathews fired on officers answering a silent robbery alarm and Chapin was killed while pursuing him.

On Wednesday, officers were combing through a wooded area near the scene. Police declined to say what they were investigating.

Today, local and state law enforcement agencies will help cover the city so that Chattanooga police can attend Chapin’s services.

“These steps have been taken to assure citizens that a high level of police protection will be maintained throughout the entire city and county during this time of sadness,” Janice Atkinson, spokeswoman for the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, said.

Parts of Hixson Pike and Highway 153 will be closed today as services are held for slain police officer Sgt. Tim Chapin at Abba's House in Hixson.

At 11:00 a.m., the Chattanooga Police Department will close off Highway 153 from Gadd to Hamill Road and Hixson Pike from Highway 153 to Abba's House.

Hundreds gather for Sgt. Chapin's visitation
Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday for Sgt. Timothy Chapin's visitation at Abba's House. Chapin was killed Saturday while responding to an armed robbery call at U.S. Money Shops on Brainerd Road. The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Abba's House, followed by the burial at Hamilton Memorial Gardens.
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